Their music is by no means revolutionary. It slots perfectly and comfortably within the parameters of your everyday orthodox indie-pop rock. What sets the Cold War Kids apart however, is their zealous live performance and their willingness to experiment with alternate instruments, genres and arrangements. They pulled in a reasonable crowd at the Enmore Theatre last week in support of their soon-to-be-released third studio album Mine Is Yours.
Unlike most new indie bands, regardless of having ascertained a distinct sound which they base their music around, Cold War Kids are also versatile and ever-changing in their approach. Not to mention their songs are highly addictive. Both Nathan Willett’s high tenor (that at times echoes Jack White’s shrilling vocals) and the bands rhythmic bravado can be accredited for this. The preaching nature of trademark CWK songs like ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ and ‘Saint John’ – though pretty average on the surface – will inevitably creep into the cerebrum of your brain.
Naturally, both of these hits featured in the set list as did a horde of other tunes from their five year-spanning repertoire such as ‘Hospital Beds’ and ‘Audience’. But the tracks the audience were really pining to hear on Tuesday night were those from the highly anticipated new album Mine Is Yours (due for release on Jan 24th).
Cold War Kids enthusiasts will find that it is near impossible to locate on the world wide web (apart from ‘Royal Blue’ and ‘Louder Than Ever’ on the bands MySpace). The Californian quartet have withheld their latest offering from the Internet’s clutches and proudly revealed their new material to fans live at the Enmore Theatre, personally introducing each song with its official title. Having seen and heard the soulful, storytelling album from start to finish first-hand, I’d say the stand out track is “Skip The Charades”, an epically melodic number that gradually builds to a signature climax. It just happens to be Willett’s personal favourite too!
As for the live show itself, the indie rockers are zesty, instrumentally in synch and display a heart-warming camaraderie in the form of playful hugs, guitar neck locks and encouraging shoulder barges. Willett constantly engages with his crowd and executes his lines as seamlessly as he does on tape. Meanwhile the remaining Kids rip up the stage with jagged guitar riffs, eccentric piano chords, percussive tools and even a melodical! However, admittedly guitarist Jonnie Russell does take it a bit too far at times with his over-exaggerated guitar playing style that resembles someone being zapped by a cow taser gun.
Cold War Kids dished out a solid 15 songs before reaching for the side wings of the stage, but it wasn’t long before the crowd reeled the four-piece back into the spotlight for an encore. Reserved for the very end were crowd pleasers ‘Saint John’ and veteran tune ‘We Used To Vacation’ that Willett admitted they hadn’t played in a considerably long time. And for that reason he pointed out; “you’re very, very special Sydney!”